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Ideology, Practice, and the Voices of Louisiana Educators

Susan Notes: Here is research based on the premise that it is important to talk to teachers. Imagine that.

The goal of this research project has been to present and to understand the perspectives of educators regarding the implementation and use of high-stakes testing at their own elementary school in an urban setting during the first two years of state testing in Louisiana. In much of the past and current testing discussions and debates, the voices of educators at testing sites have been conspicuously muted or even absent. Without a clear understanding of the ideas, beliefs, and actions of those who occupy that critical intersection of policy talk and policy action, or that juncture between the ideological and the pragmatic, our understanding of the implementation and consequences of high-stakes testing will remain, at best, partial. With the voices of educators from the testing site as an integral part of the research literature, we can hope to reach a more thorough understanding of the solution that testing offers, regardless of how appealing or how appalling we may view that solution or its appropriateness to the problem that highstakes testing was supposed to address. If, as Gregory Bateson (1972, p. 271) has remarked, "sometimes . . . one does not know what the problems were till after they have
been solved," then an examination of the "solving" that is going on now in Louisiana
schools and across the U. S. may begin to help unmask some of the real problems that have been subsumed within or obfuscated by the rhetoric of reform.

The Setting-Alpha Elementary

Alpha Elementary is a K-5 Title One school located in the heart of a low-income residential area of a medium-sized city in Louisiana's northwest corner.

For a pdf file of the report, go to the url below.

— Jim Horn, Monmouth University
The Qualitative Report, Vol 8 Number 2



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